With the explosion of social media and influencer culture, navigating the skincare world has become even more complex. This Skincare 101 blog is here to help you cut through the noise, empowering you with the knowledge to confidently make informed decisions about the skin products and skin treatments that will work best for your unique skin type.
In this blog, we will address the latest skincare trends and debunk common myths while also providing guidance on the products and treatments you should avoid based on your skin type – dry, oily, combination, sensitive, or acne-prone. Our goal is to ensure your skincare routine is effective in achieving a healthier, more radiant complexion.
Identifying your skin type
Before delving into the world of skincare products and treatments, it’s essential to identify your skin type accurately. Knowing your skin type helps you make better decisions when choosing products and allows you to create a customised skincare routine that caters to your specific needs. Here are some tips to help you accurately determine your skin type:
Observe your skin
Start by thoroughly cleansing your face and gently patting it dry. Then, wait for about an hour and observe your skin without applying any products. This will allow your skin to return to its natural state, providing you with a better understanding of its true condition.
Assess your T-zone
The T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) is crucial for determining your skin type, as it can exhibit different characteristics from the rest of your face. Pay close attention to this area’s oiliness, dryness, or balance.
Perform the blotting paper test
Gently press a clean blotting paper onto different areas of your face (forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin). Examine the amount of oil left on the paper to help identify your skin type. The more oil absorbed, the oilier your skin type.
Based on these observations, you can classify your skin into one of the following categories:
- Normal. Your skin feels balanced, neither too oily nor too dry, with minimal or no breakouts, and has an even texture and tone.
- Dry. Your skin feels tight and may exhibit flakiness or rough patches, a dull appearance and small pores.
- Oily. Your skin appears shiny, especially in the T-zone, with enlarged pores and a higher likelihood of experiencing breakouts.
- Combination. Your skin exhibits a mix of dry and oily areas, usually with an oily T-zone and dry or normal cheeks.
- Sensitive. Your skin is prone to redness, itching, burning, or stinging sensations and reacts easily to products or environmental factors.
- Acne-prone. Your skin is characterised by frequent breakouts, clogged pores, and inflammation, regardless of oiliness or dryness.
Remember that your skin type can change due to age, hormones, climate and lifestyle. Therefore, it’s essential to re-evaluate your skin type periodically and adjust your skincare routine accordingly to maintain its health and radiance.
Your dermatologist, dermal practitioner, beautician or aesthetic nurse can also help you identify your current skin type.
Don’ts for each skin type
While having a normal skin type may seem like smooth sailing, avoiding specific ingredients, products, and treatments that could disrupt your skin’s balance is crucial. Let’s dive into the don’ts for each skin type, beginning with normal skin.
- Avoid harsh exfoliants. Though normal skin is relatively balanced, using abrasive scrubs or over-exfoliating can damage the skin’s barrier and lead to irritation. Opt for gentle chemical exfoliants or mild physical scrubs instead.
- Steer clear of alcohol-based products. Alcohol can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and sensitivity.
- Pay attention to hydration. It’s essential to keep your skin moisturised even if it feels balanced. Choose lightweight moisturisers with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or other hydrating ingredients.
- Avoid products with drying ingredients. Steer clear of products containing alcohol, sulphates, and harsh detergents that can exacerbate dryness. Instead, look for gentle cleansers and creams with nourishing ingredients like ceramides, shea butter, or jojoba oil.
- Don’t over-exfoliate. Limit exfoliation to once or twice a week and opt for gentle chemical exfoliants like lactic acid or PHAs, which are less likely to irritate dry skin.
- Skip long, hot showers. Prolonged exposure to hot water can strip your skin of natural oils, worsening dryness. Opt for shorter, lukewarm showers instead.
- Avoid comedogenic ingredients. Steer clear of heavy, pore-clogging ingredients like mineral oil, coconut oil, shea butter and petrolatum. Instead, look for non-comedogenic, oil-free products that won’t exacerbate oiliness or cause breakouts.
- Don’t over-cleanse. Overwashing your face can strip your skin of natural oils, leading to increased oil production. Instead, try cleansing twice daily with a gentle, foaming cleanser.
- Avoid harsh acne treatments. While using potent acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide is tempting, be cautious not to overdo it. Using too much can cause irritation and dryness, leading to more oil production and breakouts. Glycolic acids can work well for acne skin.
- Don’t use one-size-fits-all products. Avoid products that are too heavy for your oily areas or too light for your dry areas. Instead, consider using different products for each zone or opt for products specifically designed for combination skin.
- Avoid over-drying toners. Skip alcohol-based toners that can worsen dryness in certain areas. Instead, choose gentle, alcohol-free toners with balancing ingredients like witch hazel or niacinamide.
- Don’t neglect exfoliation. Ensure you exfoliate gently and regularly, as combination skin can benefit from the removal of dead skin cells and excess oil. Use a gentle glycolic exfoliant to avoid irritation.
- Avoid harsh ingredients. Steer clear of products containing alcohol, fragrance, synthetic dyes, or other potential irritants. Instead, opt for hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products formulated for sensitive skin.
- Don’t over-exfoliate. Exfoliating too frequently or using harsh scrubs can exacerbate sensitivity. Instead, limit exfoliation to once a week and choose gentle chemical exfoliants like PHAs or low-concentration lactic acid.
- Avoid aggressive treatments. Some chemical peels, heavy microdermabrasion and certain laser treatments can be too harsh for sensitive skin
- Don’t touch your face frequently. Touching your face can transfer dirt, oil, and bacteria from your hands, leading to breakouts.
- Don’t ignore your diet. A balanced diet is essential for overall skin health. Foods high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and dairy may contribute to acne for some people.
- Don’t expect overnight results. Skincare products and treatments take time to work. Be patient and consistent with your skincare routine.
- Get advice from a dermatologist. Acne is a condition that depends on many factors. Getting some expert advice, especially in the more dramatic cases, can be very beneficial.
General precautions for all skin types
Regardless of your skin type, there are certain precautions everyone should take to ensure their skincare routine is both considered and effective. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Allergies and sensitivities. Always be aware of any known allergies or sensitivities to specific ingredients. Carefully read product labels and avoid any known irritants, even if they’re commonly recommended for your skin type.
- Existing skin conditions. If you have a pre-existing skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, consult a dermatologist before starting a new skincare routine. They can recommend products and treatments that won’t exacerbate your condition and may help alleviate symptoms.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding. Certain ingredients, such as retinoids, salicylic acid, and some essential oils, should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Consult your healthcare provider or dermatologist for advice on baby-safe skincare alternatives during this time.
- Recent procedures or treatments. If you’ve recently undergone a skin treatment or procedure, such as chemical peels, laser therapy, or dermal fillers, follow your practitioner’s aftercare instructions carefully. Avoid using new products or treatments until your skin has fully healed, and always consult your practitioner before introducing new skincare products or treatments post-procedure.
- Sun exposure. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is crucial regardless of your skin type. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily and reapply every two hours when outdoors. Sun protection is vital if you’re using exfoliants, retinoids, or other treatments that can make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure.
- Patch testing. Before introducing a new product into your routine, perform a patch test to check for potential reactions. Apply a small amount of the product to a discreet area, such as behind your ear or the inside of your wrist and wait 24-48 hours. If you experience any redness, itching, or irritation, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist if necessary.
- Exfoliation – many dermatologists warn against harsh mass-market exfoliates on the skin. They understand people do “like “ to exfoliate as it makes their skin feel clean, but it is often an unnecessary step, and many people overdo it. Skin does naturally exfoliate- every day, so nature often does the work for you without trying. There is much debate. Glycolic solutions are often the best trick if you need to exfoliate. Don’t get exfoliating mixed up with cleansing – which removes skin debris and should be performed every day with a good cleanser.
Consult with a skin professional at Enrich
By accurately identifying your skin type, avoiding products and treatments that may cause harm, and following general precautions, you can create a customised skincare routine that addresses your unique needs while maintaining your skin’s overall health.
When in doubt, consult our dermatologists or skincare specialists to ensure you’re making the best choices for your skin.